Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Doing surprising things

Sometimes I find myself doing surprising things - and today was one of those days.

I'm not a quilter as I've always thought it was too formal for me as a technique - too rigid and mathematical - so I generally avoid occasions when I might be asked to quilt. Today though, Great Western Embroiderers, the group I stitch and exhibit with, had invited the excellent Kate Dowty to do her Scrappy Collage workshop for us.

We had a lovely day - and I quilted along with all the others, and much to my surprise, enjoyed myself. Kate had brought along small examples of  her quilted wall hangings to inspire us. Her work can be found on her website and is well worth a look.

We were asked to create a layered and quilted representation of a hedgerow, a field with wild flowers or a flower border in our garden. I chose (approximately) the last of these.

Kate demonstrated the layering techniques and her informal approach - not a cut hexagon or formal quilting layout in sight. This is definitely my sort of quilting - layering and machine stitching I can do.

I have not finished my piece. I've realised that in workshops I'm a slow worker - in fact I get really flustered if I feel I have to rush - and there's no pleasure in that. I like to think about what I'm doing and try out composition and colouring at leisure.

Though I don't feel the colours work and there is still a lot to do, if I choose to do it, I'm posting what I've done so far to give some idea of what we were asked to do and of Kate's approach.

I've also asked Adobe Photoshop to get to work on the colours and I much prefer the results, especially the second of the two.


I think this, if nothing else, is definitely a technique and approach to have in my armoury, though I won't be using it in the pieces I'm working on right now, or probably for some while, though you never know.

If you get a chance to hear Kate talk or attend a workshop with her, do - she is very approachable and a reassuring and gentle teacher.

10 comments:

  1. I'm so with you on you're thoughts on workshops, I have realised that I have to assert myself and set my own pace. I will no longer allow myself to rushed from one thing to another.
    Like you I always protest that I'm no quilter but I can see the appeal, I love this kind of collage. I would happily spend days working out colour combinations.

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  2. It is interesting how different people react to different workshops. I'm like you: I never wanted to rush. I am more interested in technique rather than anything finished to take away with me - or even to finish later, except to keep practising technique. It's good that you enjoyed an aspect of quilting that you might have missed otherwise.

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    1. Thank you both for your lovely comments - good to know there are kindred spirits out there - though I think I knew that already!
      Workshops are tricky things altogether - so often informative and useful, but so often not on the thing you're trying to resolve at the time. But then you have to take what's on offer when it's available - and you never know when it's going to creep in almost uninvited to what you're doing ...

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  3. Glad you have found a useful quilting technique.

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  4. I'm with you as well as far as the rush of a workshop. I don't have that kind of instant energy and I usually find the 'energy' of the workshop participants more than enough ... very tiring ... hence haven't taken an official wksp. in years !
    Lovely technique though and your piece (2nd colouring) appeals to me, too !

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    1. Great to hear from you again.
      Ah the energy of the other participants - I'm so with you ... and to that pressure I would add the 'if only I'd remembered to bring' problem - I somehow never take the stuff I want and end up improvising and compromising, only sometimes with interesting results.
      But workshops for me with only limited formal art training have been a great source of knowledge and inspiration and I guess I'll keep on taking them.

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  5. While its fun to 'do' things with other people - I too have a resistance to workshops or any kind of classes. Its like my hands freeze up and my mind closes down. I do best learning on my own, at my own pace, making mistakes and learning from them, exploring the whole technique to only the sound of some lovely music in the background. Your 'experiment' is quite good so you should give yourself a pat on the back. It can be quite liberating, I've found, to lay fabric on top of fabric to see what comes of it.

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    1. You are very kind and encouraging!
      Like you, I do lots of experimenting in the peace of my own home often inspired by my library of lovely books but I find the encouragement from supportive friends or a sympathetic teacher can be very helpful too. Sometimes the right comment can unlock a whole deluge of ideas. I think the single day workshop carries the most pressure with it's feeling that there is only one chance to do something worth while.

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  6. Great work, especially for a first go! I too love the 2nd photoshopped version -- too bad one can't change the color of the actual piece via photoshopping! You know I was an art quilter, right? Check out the tab on my blog -- also my website (http://constancerosedesigns.com). But better do the latter soon as I'll be shutting down the website sometime this month.

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    1. Thank you! Wouldn't it indeed be great if you could just change a troublesome colour in a piece of work at the click of a mouse.What a wonderful thought!
      I didn't know you were an art quilter - I will check you out.

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